Studying for finals, so this may not be as detailed as people like, but I will do my best! Feel free to ask questions about anything I missed that you are curious about.
Picanha - (Sirloin) Most succulent, tender cut of beef, had many bites off of different skewers, texture was all excellent, but as many other reports have noted, it is very salty if you get the edge w/ all the rub/marinade on it. The best piece I had was medium rare (very rare in the middle) about the 3rd cut in on the rarer side of the skewer and had a nice fatty crust that (in moderation) was very yummy. The salt could overwhelm if you got too much of the seasoned outside. Non-foodie complaints were that it was too rare...I say MOOOOOOOOO.
Linguica - Being of partial Portuguese ancestry, I love me some linguica. This was ok...if not a little dry, and didn't taste to me like real linguica, more just like a sausage. That being said, it was still quite tasty!
Chicken: Never got any
Lombinho - (Pork loin w/ parmesan.) Well cooked, maybe a little dry on the outer regions of the cut (which is a theme here). It was good, not great, my tablemates really loved the parmesan crust.
Costela de Porco (Pork Ribs) - These were good, not that memorable however, so not much to report.
Alcatra - (Top sirloin) Yummy, when you get past the over salted crust. The theme of the day seemed that the first cut or two were more well done and saltier, which was fine for our group...I just waited for the rarer pieces.
Cubed Beef w/ Garlic - Mom's favorite, tougher cut of meat (which she prefers) not overly salted, small (2 in.) cubes of beef. Very well seasoned and YUMMY!
Chicken Thighs - By far the best, most consistent thing we were served. So succulent and juicy when you cut in to it all the juices ran in to your rice and black beans (more on that later) and they were absolutely delish! Not too salty or over flavored, and the chicken meat itself had a wonderful flavor.
Lamb w/ Rosemary - Good, not great. Too much rosemary twigs covering everything. Once you got past the too much salt and too done problem things went smoothly. The lamb was not too gamey (or muttony) which sometimes happens, and was indeed tasty.
Roasted Pineapple - Yum...just yum. There is something about hot pineapple that just gets me going...I love it...and this was no exception. (But it is pretty hard to screw that up!)
Far and away the best salad (to me) was the corn salad. Just corn, some peppers and lots of cilantro. Very fresh and very good. Everything else on the salad bar side was ok. My SO and Mom both really loved the coleslaw, not mayo based, but a nice vinaigrette. Friend who spent time in Brazil said that these salads were just OK by comparison...they have some middle eastern offerings which is actually typical of a Brazilian churrascaria.
Rice and Beans
I chose the white rice (only option) and the black beans (there were other beans too, just didn't get those). Black beans were under salted, but speaking w/ my friend who lived a few years in Brazil, if the cook thinks the salt rub on the meat is too salty, he will compensate by adding less salt to everything else...interesting concept, she says you are supposed to sort of eat everything together, so I suppose that makes sense. I really liked the beans though, they were firm, not mushy which sometimes happens. I also tried farofa for the first time (they serve it next to the beans, sort of looks like fine bread crumbs) which is toasted manioc flour. As directed I mixed it w/ the rice and beans and it added another textural element that was very enjoyable. It also sort of thickened up the bean juice which I also liked...YUM! (Ok, I must admit, I have a thing for black beans!)
Flan - as good as the one I had in Mexico when I was very young...good burnt flavor, but not too much so, creamy and rich
Passion fruit Mousse - quite tasty, and I tend not to a) like mousses or b) like tropical fruit stuffs. Good balance of sweet, tart and creamy. Very nice palate cleanser after all that meat!
Crema Catalana (sp?) - like creme brulee, just ok, I was focused on the flan!
Service - What service? No, seriously, the waiters were nice, if not a bit inattentive (took 30 minutes to try to order desert, then another 30 to try to get the check!) Gauchos were nice, but with 3 young women at the table that doesn't surprise me, especially since one spoke Portuguese.
A good time was had by all. Not a foodie experience per se, but a very nice, and interesting experience all together. I would go back, for special occasions. It wasn't too terribly loud, and definitely bring your own wine if you are picky ($15 corkage) because their wine list leaves something to be desired. I thought most of the meat was fair to good w/ the chicken thighs and the Picanha being the best. Sorry I didn't try the chicken hearts, they were panned too many times, and I didn't want my first one to scar me for life. I thought all of the cuts of meat had good flavor, but there was a range of doneness throughout the evening. Best advice tell the man what you want. You want rare, he will find you rare! By the end of the night they were taking our requests and finding the right Gaucho to accommodate our needs!
Hope everyone found this a little helpful, like I said, I would go back, and I think it is a nice, warm place. It was an experience, and it was very fun. We left fat and happy!
Happy to answer questions!
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